I absolutely love this dish. In fact, it may be my favorite way to eat salmon. It’s my idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day dinner (hello, husband o’ mine? Are you reading this post?). Make it asap, and you’ll understand why I’m floating in clouds of love at the dinner table when this is on the menu.
2 salmon fillets (about 1.3 lbs total)
2 TBS peanut oil (or canola)
Salt and pepper
3 TBS brown sugar
1 1/2 TBS minced ginger
2 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS dry sherry (or Shaoxing wine)
Dash red pepper flakes
Lime juice from 1/2 lime
1 bunch diced green onions
1/2 c chopped cilantro
White rice, for serving
First, put your rice on–I love my rice cooker, because it allows me to forget about the rice knowing it will turn out perfectly with no help from me.
Now, chop the ginger and assemble the sauce of love: mix the brown sugar, ginger, fish sauce, soy sauce, sherry, and red pepper flakes.
If you’ve never used fish sauce, by now it’s available in most mainstream groceries. It looks like this:
It smells hideous in the bottle and when it first hits the pan . . . but it adds a depth of distinctly Thai flavor that is amazing.
Now it’s time for the fishy part of this business. Aren’t these fillets be-yewtiful??
The time has come to skin the salmon pieces. Warning: you must own a good sharp knife to successfully remove the skin. I come from a long tradition of Henkels users.
The trick is to get the knife started at a corner, and then slip the knife between the skin and the flesh, leaving the fish as intact as you can. If you wield the knife with your right hand, place your left hand flat on the skin–this will help you control the knife so that it stays near the surface.
Extra tip: unless you plan on taking out your garbage immediately, fish related trash will stink up your house in no time at all. I put the packaging and skin in a plastic bag and freeze it until it’s time to take the trash out next.
It’s stinky enough that even the yellow smiley-faced man isn’t pleased.
Now, spread some of the oil all over salmon pieces, then sprinkle on salt and pepper.
Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet. When it’s hot, add the salmon fillets.
Cook over high heat for 1 minute, then flip gently using a sturdy spatula. Don’t be like me and use tongs . . .
Salmon is so delicate it will fall apart if we don’t treat it with tender care. Cook for 1 minute on second side, then add sauce; cook for 3 minutes.
It should start getting nice and bubbly.
While it’s bubbling, I quickly wash and chop my greens: cilantro and green onions in bountiful amounts.
Add the lime juice and turn the fillets to coat them in the sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes, then add the cilantro and green onions, and cook for 1 final minute or until the fish is just done.
The lesson is: you must not overcook the salmon. I will show you photographs to convince you of this in a minute. You have 2 choices: a dried out canned tuna-like piece of fish (no!), or a delicately tender piece of fish that is flaking apart into moist pieces (yes!).
Let’s investigate this beautiful piece of fish . . .
Be smart: choose option 2. Don’t overcook your fish.
Not to imply that this recipe isn’t the exact incarnation of all that is good in the world, but if you like a lot of sauce you can consider doubling the sauce recipe.
Serve over rice . . . as if that wasn’t totally obvious from all the pictures. Uh huh.
If you want some more veggies involved in your meal, serve this with a delectable little cucumber side dish a la mode of what my cousin Luke and his wife Kelsey made last year at family vacation. Recipe coming tomorrow.
Click here for printer-friendly version: Caramelized Ginger Salmon